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Entries in Spoetzl Brewery (2)


Shiner Bohemian Black Lager


I've mentioned before how schwarzbiers, or black lagers, seem to have really become trendy over the past year or two, and how I'm a fan of the trend given that they make for great session beers.  So, when the folks at Spoetzl Brewery reached out and offered to send me a review sample of their Shiner Bohemian Black Lager I graciously accepted.  Little did they know that I've been enjoying Shiner Black ever since they first debuted it as a limited release beer to celebrate the brewery's 97 anniversary.
The beer pours a nice rich black color with an average head for this style of beer.  While there's no heavy aromas to speak of, the flavor profile features sweet toasted malts with a slight hint of coffee and smoke notes.  This isn't a beer you want when you're looking for something big, exceedingly complex, and heavy though.  As you'd want with this style, this is a rather thin and highly refreshing beer that you could enjoy all night.  Plus at only 4.9% abv you could easily do so.  One thing I've noticed while drinking this beer over the years is that it pairs amazingly well with anything smoky, ranging from good Texas BBQ to a nice smoky scotch like Lagavulin.  
Spoetzl Brewery has always had a special place in my heart since I grew up in Texas, but their Bohemian Black Lager really stands out to me as a quality product that hits the mark that it aims for.  I guess that's why this brew won the German-Style Schwarzbier group at the Great American Beer Fest, as well as its category at the European Beer Star Awards.  It's a great value at the price, and deserves a look by those who would normally overlook a Spoetzl beer.  Not to mention it's always nice to support one of the last American breweries that have been in business for over 100 years without being acquired by Inbev Anheuser-Busch.




Shiner Blonde

Shiner Blonde is Spoetzl’s version of the generic American lager, brewed to compete with Budweiser, Lone Star, Pearl, Pabst and so on.   I’m going to keep this short, and say that they pretty much hit the target, as Shiner Blonde tastes a great deal like those aforementioned brews. 

The brew pours a clear straw color, with no real head to speak of.  It smells slightly skunky, and that skunkiness carries through to the flavor department where it mingles with grain notes, a minuscule amount of hop flavor, and a clean finish.  The flavor made me think of the way an old livestock grain & feed store smelled when I was a kid back in rural Texas.  Also like the competition, the mouthfeel is extremely watery, and it weighs in at a very light 4.5% abv. 

There’s a place for beers like this, so I’m not going to snob out here and try to rate this as if it were trying to be some kind of amazing craft brew.  That being said, I don’t see anything here that should allow Shiner Blonde to command a price premium over Miller High Life or Lone Star.  More importantly though, anywhere you can get Shiner Blonde, you should be able to also buy the infinitely superior Shiner Bock, and that’s exactly what I do every time I’m presented with the option.  Spoetzl Brewing makes some great beers that should make Texans proud, but Shiner Blond isn’t one of them.